Facebook must disclose suspected terror plots to Britain, David Cameron to tell Barack Obama

Author

Ben Riley-Smith and Peter Dominiczak

January 15, 2015

Prime Minister expected to discuss US-based internet companies not co-operating with the UK authorities during terror investigations with American President

American internet companies must in future disclose details to the British security services of terrorists plotting atrocities online, David Cameron will tell Barack Obama.

The Prime Minister is expected to use talks with the American President in Washington to raise the issue of US-based internet companies not co-operating with the UK authorities during terror investigations.

He wants British spies to be able to demand that US-based companies including Twitter give them access to the accounts of potential jihadists plotting attacks on social media.

If the sites are aware of any extremist discussion on their networks, they should also tell the UK authorities so that any possible plot can be foiled, the Prime Minister believes.

It follows anger from MPs after it in November emerged that Facebook failed to pass on information that could have prevented the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

The social media website was labelled a “safe haven for terrorists” by MPs after it was disclosed that Michael Adebowale used the social networking site to express his “intent to murder a soldier in the most graphic and emotive manner” five months before the 2013 Woolwich attack.

Mr Cameron’s intervention comes amid fears that terrorists could be plotting attacks on British soil in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris.

Downing Street sources said that the Prime Minister will use his talks with Mr Obama to discuss “the online space and how do you tackle violent extremism online”.

“The Prime Minister’s objective here is to get the US companies to co-operate with us more, to make sure that our intelligence agencies get the information that they need to keep us safe,” a source said.

“That will be his approach in the discussion with President Obama – how can we work together to get them to co-operate more? What’s the best approach to encourage them to do more?”

Following a highly critical report into the murder of Fusilier Rigby by MPs on the Intelligence and Security Committee, the Prime Minister accused US-based internet companies of failing to assist in the fight against terrorism.

He warned that they had a “moral duty” to act because “their networks are being used to plot murder and mayhem”.

He claimed that the heads of global web firms had a “distorted libertarian ideology” that made them “wholly detached from responsibility to governments and to the peoples that we democratically represent”.

The ISC report found that Facebook had not been aware of a specific exchange involving Fusilier Rigby’s killer.

However, the committee discovered that Facebook had previously shut down Adebowale’s accounts on the site because he had discussed terrorism, but failed to relay concerns to the security services.

Mr Cameron will also use his visit to America to seek to secure the release of the last British resident held in Guantanamo Bay during the talks.

He will raise the plight of Shaker Aamer, who has been held in Guantanamo without charge for almost 13 years.

“He understands that the closure of Guantanamo Bay is a personal priority for President Obama, that it’s something that we have worked together on. We have already taken back a number of detainees that were in Guantanamo,” a Downing Street source said.

“This is an important case for the Prime Minister. He would like to see progress on it as quickly as possible.”

Mr Cameron will stay at Blair House, the White House guest residence, during the trip. The residence is normally reserved for use during state visits, but the President has offered Mr Cameron use of the property, sources

This article was written by Peter Dominiczak and Ben Riley-Smith from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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